From big-name franchise revivals to small-scale indie productions, horror gaming on PlayStation was in good health in 2023. PlayStation LifeStyle selects 14 of the year’s best horror games on PlayStation consoles.
Resident Evil 4 Remake (Capcom)
Few remakes would come with such expectations as Resident Evil 4, and yet Capcom managed to exceed them.
Resident Evil 4 Remake takes everything players loved about the 2005 classic and integrates a flurry of modern touches to make it feel like a natural evolution of the original.
Dead Space (EA Motive)
While Resident Evil 4’s remake reimagined the original, EA Motive’s Dead Space largely stuck to the script with a smattering of improvements where they were needed.
The spirit of the original is kept intact, but a PS5 sheen made every Necromorph encounter and gore-splattered outcome a grisly treat. But the real star of the new show is the Ishimura, which no longer feels like a series of interconnected rooms masquerading as a spaceship but more like an actual place.
No One Lives Under the Lighthouse (Marevo Collective)
Finally getting a console release, Marevo Collective’s atmospheric PSX-style horror is a delightful slow-burner that makes the most of its minimalist structure.
The ambiguity of the story keeps players on edge, and when chase scenes kick in, the perspective shift adds another layer to the unsettling atmosphere.
Amnesia The Bunker (Frictional Games)
Frictional Games’ ability to rewrite the rulesets of its story-led horror games is admirable and with Amnesia: The Bunker, it does its biggest edit yet.
Amnesia: The Bunker is a self-contained sandbox set in a wartime bunker where the player has to find the means to escape whilst evading a deadly monstrosity. Think of it as small-scale Alien Isolation meets Immersive Sim.
The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners 2 (Skydance Interactive)
PSVR2 had plenty of horror goodies in 2023. The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners 2 was my personal pick from the brand-new bunch.
Why? Well, its immersive, intense gameplay translates so much better to the PSVR2 than the original game did with PSVR. The dread of getting cornered by the undead is offset by improvised weapons. Throw in a seemingly unstoppable behemoth out for blood and Saints and Sinners 2 will have you working up a sweat.
Killer Frequency (Team 17)
Killer Frequency stands out for me because it’s clearly doing something quite different in the horror space. Playing the part of a washed-up DJ who finds themselves having to help save locals from a returning legendary serial killer. Killer Frequency limits you to the radio station as to the extent of your help, but within that station is plenty of exploration and opportunity.
Not only can you find things to guide potential victims away from their fate, but you get the chance to play as a DJ, putting on records, ads, and, of course, taking calls. Killer Frequency does everything possible to immerse you in the role.
Oxenfree II: Lost Signals (Night School Studios)
Oxenfree’s dialogue system remains one of the most refreshing and ingenious of its kind, so a return to that with Oxenfree II would always be welcome. That system is more refined now, but it’s Oxenfree II’s story is where it excels.
After the teen-centric tale of the original, Oxenfree II shifts things to an adult perspective and, in doing so, gives us a wonderfully melancholy flipside to the first game.
Homebody (Game Grumps)
Homebody puts a modern spin on classic survival horror, with plenty of homages to Clock Tower, especially on show.
A young woman and her friends are stuck in a time loop that keeps them inside a strange old house. She must solve the many puzzles of the house in order to break the loop, but every time the loop begins, the threat of a masked killer arrives with it.
Trepang2 (Trepang Studios)
If you miss the frenetic supernatural shooter action of F.E.A.R. then Trepang2 has your early 2000s needs covered. A labor of love that transformed into a full game, Trepang2 is a lovely reminder that shooters can simply be big, loud, bloody slabs of nonsense.
The slo-mo ability turns large-scale chaos into a ballet of bullets and blood, but truly the art of Trepang2 comes in chaining together kills at full speed, utilizing the various other superpowers at your disposal.
Alan Wake 2 (Remedy Entertainment)
Thirteen years after Remedy Entertainment’s Alan Wake, a sequel finally arrived, and it’s the quintessential distillation of everything the developer has done up until this point.
It’s a weird, meta tale that blends mediums in an impressively seamless way. The shift between Alan’s and Saga’s sides of the story gives us two distinct flavors of horror that intertwine at key moments.
Stay Out of the House (Puppet Combo)
It was pretty remarkable that Amnesia: The Bunker condensed a horror immersive sim into such a small space, but Puppet Combo’s Stay Out of the House manages to pack that into an even smaller space.
You have to escape the house of The Butcher by utilizing whatever you can find. Get caught, and it’s back in your cage. Each run gives you the opportunity to discover more about how the house works and the backstory behind The Butcher.
After an unfortunate licensing drama with Friday the 13th, Gun Media clearly wasn’t deterred from bringing beloved horror franchises to life in video game form, and we should be glad because it gave us The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
Taking the asymmetrical multiplayer model of games like its Friday the 13th game and Dead by Daylight, Gun, and Sumo change things up by pitting a team of three family members against four unlucky potential victims. The change makes for an intense cat-and-mouse dynamic distinct to this game.
Dead Island 2 (Dambuster Studios)
Given the rocky history of Dead Island 2’s path to release and the emergence of rival franchise Dying Light by original Dead Island developers Techland in the years since it would have been understandable if Dead Island 2 turned out to be a bit of a stinker.
Yet, thanks to Dambuster Studios, it turned out to be not only good, gory fun but the best Dead Island game by far. Its tongue-in-cheek humor, detailed zombie degradation system, and general blood-splattered combat combine to make for a fine multiplayer hoot.
Dredge (Black Salt Games)
Fishing has been a staple of game activities for some time now, but few outside actual sims make that the basis for an entire game. Black Salt Games thought it was worth a go, and Dredge was the unholy result.
This open-world fishing sim has an increasingly dark undertone that taps into the core of Lovecraftian horror. The murmured warnings not to stray too far at night, the messed up fish you occasionally haul in, and the strange, ambiguous way locals talk about things. When the horrors of the deep do finally show themselves, your little fishing boat never felt more vulnerable.